The Adventure Continues… Crossroads
I decided on a bit of a change this week — a collection of short, 4-minute videos produced for Southern California Edison in the late 1980s. I stumbled across these small gems purely by accident. As always, you can click on the images below to see the videos.
This first episode launched Edison’s “Crossroads” series. The show became a regular feature in a quarterly employee video news magazine called “Horizons.”
In this story Huell visits the historic mining town of Randsburg near Ridgecrest in San Bernardino County, 190 miles northeast of Los Angeles. High atop wooden power poles, and while standing in a fiberglass bucket at the end of a 60-foot boom, Huell interviews electrical workers Bill Brzezinski, Carl Smith and Eddie Brock who all work in the remote desert region. (January 1989)
I think the flume walker in the next video must have one of the best jobs out there!
Huell visits Edison’s historic Kaweah Hydroelectric Facility on the western slope of the Sierras above Visalia. He interviews Jim Kepner, an Edison carpenter, whose maintenance duties include regularly walking the six-mile long wooden flume that delivers snow-melt waters from the mountains to the electrical generators at the Kaweah facility. Edison’s history dates back more than 130 years and traces its beginning to producing electricity with waterpower. Like the Kaweah facility many of the utility’s century-old hydroelectric generating plants are still operating. Huell learns that the continuing success of these facilities is because they hold strong to turn-of-the-century technology and time-tested practices – such as manual inspections. This Flume Walking episode featured a job largely forgotten in a modern company but still provides an essential service in “keeping the lights on” for more than three million customers. (May 1989)
Finally, an episode that deals with the history of the Big Creek region and the efforts made to preserve vital cultural and archeological treasures.
Huell visits Edison’s historic Big Creek Hydroelectric Facilities high in the Sierras east of Fresno. He interviews staff archaeologist Tom Taylor who explains the importance of his job of researching and documenting to help preserve artifacts from the Western Mono people who originally inhabited the region. Huell also interviews Native American artist Margaret Batey. Margaret preserves her Western Mono Culture handed down through the generations by collecting plants and materials from the area for her art projects and intricate baskets. (October 1989)
If you’d like to view more of this eight-episode Crossroads collection, the videos are available from Chapman University’s Huell Howser Archives here.
Categories: California's-Gold, history, people, video
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